The upgrade to the hockey facilities at Wyndley Leisure Centre has been successfully completed as the region gears up for the Commonwealth Games.
The leisure centre, located in Sutton Coldfield, was announced as the official training venue for hockey, triathlon and Para triathlon in November.
It has now undergone a transformation, with the existing pitch upgraded to a Federation International Hockey (FIH) standard pitch.
As well as ensuring the teams invited to compete at the Commonwealth Games have excellent training facilities, the improvements will have a long-lasting benefit for community groups, schools and local hockey players too, such as those from Sutton Coldfield Hockey Club, who are based at the site.
Wyndley Leisure Centre is owned by Birmingham City Council and operated by Birmingham Community Leisure Trust and the work on the pitch has been funded through the Birmingham 2022 capital programme budget and through national lottery funding via Sport England.
The new hockey pitch now replicates the playing surface at the University of Birmingham, the official competition venue for hockey, making it the perfect training venue for the ten women’s hockey teams and ten men’s hockey teams that will compete at Birmingham 2022.
Hockey’s triple Olympic and triple Commonwealth Games medallist, Laura Unsworth, who played for Sutton, returned to see the work being done back in November.
Back then, she said: ““It’s unbelievable. To have a world-class hockey pitch being laid is great for Sutton Coldfield Hockey Club and it’s great for Birmingham as a whole.
“And for the next 20 years this is just going to be coming incredible place for people in the town to come and play hockey.
“For Sutton Coldfield to be a training venue, I just think people in the town are going to love it.
“I think Sutton Hockey Club will be great hosts and I think they’ll be down here probably watching a lot of training sessions.
“Hopefully there will be a few practice matches that people can come down and watch and see how we train.
“To have this here full time after the Commonwealth Games as legacy of Birmingham 2022 is just great.”
Tickets to watch hockey at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games have been selling fast, with the sessions towards the end of the tournament currently unavailable.
There are tickets available for sessions in the first week of the Games, from July 29 to August 5 and tickets start at just £8 for under-16s and £15 for adults.
Source: Matthew Panter